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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (276 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Louisa Gilder Narrator: Walter Dixon Publisher: Gildan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A brilliantly original and richly illuminating exploration of entanglement, the seemingly telepathic communication between two separated particles—one of the fundamental concepts of quantum physics.

In 1935, in what would become the most cited of all of his papers, Albert Einstein showed that quantum mechanics predicted such a correlation, which he dubbed "spooky action at a distance."

In that same year, Erwin Schrödinger christened this spooky correlation "entanglement." Yet its existence wasn't firmly established until 1964, in a groundbreaking paper by the Irish physicist John Bell. What happened during those years and what has happened since to refine the understanding of this phenomenon is the fascinating story told here.

We move from a coffee shop in Zurich, where Einstein and Max von Laue discuss the madness of quantum theory, to a bar in Brazil, as David Bohm and Richard Feynman chat over cervejas. We travel to the campuses of American universities—from J. Robert Oppenheimer's Berkeley to the Princeton of Einstein and Bohm to Bell's Stanford sabbatical—and we visit centers of European physics: Copenhagen, home to Bohr's famous institute, and Munich, where Werner Heisenberg and Wolfgang Pauli picnic on cheese and heady discussions of electron orbits.

Drawing on the papers, letters, and memoirs of the 20th century's greatest physicists, Louisa Gilder both humanizes and dramatizes the story by employing their own words in imagined face-to-face dialogues. Here are Bohr and Einstein clashing, and Heisenberg and Pauli deciding which mysteries to pursue. We see Schrödinger and Louis de Broglie pave the way for Bell, whose work here is given a long overdue revisiting. And with his characteristic matter-of-fact eloquence, Richard Feynman challenges his contemporaries to make something of this entanglement.

In this stunning debut, Gilder has found a wholly original way of bringing to life a tale of physics in progress.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A sparkling, original book…Gilder brings the reader into a mix of ideas and personalities handled with a verve reminiscent of Jeremy Berstein’s scientific portraits in the New Yorker…What had been for generations a story of theoretical malcontents now intrigues spooks and start-ups. All this radiates from Louisa Gilder’s story. Quantum physics lives.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “[Gilder] displays an ability to capture a personality in a few words.”

    Washington Post

  • “Captivating…A movingly human and surprisingly accessible picture of the unveiling of the quantum universe…Admirably lucid.”

    Chicago Tribune

  • “Highly entertaining…Hard to put down…Gilder is a fine storyteller who brings to life one of the great scientific adventures of our time.”

    American Scientist

  • “A witty, charming, and accurate account of the history of that bugaboo of physics—quantum entanglement…There are many books out there on the history or foundations of quantum mechanics. Some are more technical, others more historical, but none take the unique approach that Gilder has—to focus on the quantum weirdness of entanglement itself as her book’s unifying theme and to present it in an inviting and accessible way…Delightful.”


  • “A delightfully unconventional history…Especially enjoyable are the portraits of the less famous physicists…Gilder has done her homework.”


  • “[A] fascinating yarn…For anyone who wants to understand the human angle of modern physics and separate quirks from quarks, this is your book.”

    Providence Journal

  • “Astonishing…The courage and even audacity of a nonscientist to investigate the evolution of ideas about the most esoteric aspects of quantum physics are truly remarkable…Gilder is a phenomenal writer.”

    Charleston Post & Courier

  • “The clearest and most intriguing history of the manner in which the scientific method continues to advance knowledge. An amazing story.”

    Sacramento News & Review

  • “An admirable, unexpected book, historically sound and seamlessly constructed, that transports those of us who do not understand quantum mechanics into the lives and thoughts of those who did.”

    George Dyson, author of Darwin Among the Machines

  • “Louisa Gilder disentangles the story of entanglement with such narrative panache, such poetic verve, and such metaphorical precision that for a moment I almost thought I understood quantum mechanics.”

    Matt Ridley, author of Genome

  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Arthur | 2/10/2014

    " An excellent book on the historical development of quantum theory and "quantum entanglement". "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Zac | 2/7/2014

    " A personal look at the scientists who helped to develop quantum theory & the world into which it emerged. One interesting aspect is the effect of misguided political ideology on scientific discovery, both on the part of the Nazis pre-war & the anti-soviet hysteria in the USA after. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Robert | 2/4/2014

    " Wonderful look at the world of quantum physicists "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Dave Reynolds | 1/29/2014

    " This book got good reviews as a history of particle physics. I'm not overly impressed with the writing style and Edge Physics is proving to be a compelling read, so I've kind of drifted off on this one. "

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